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Use your head and be smart about driving safely

Accidents can and do happen out of the blue, but far more often, an accident has been in the making for a while. Consider the person who knows that they are driving around on bald tires but is surprised when the blowout at 70 mph causes a multi-car pile-up.

Yes, it was an accident, but the driver's irresponsibility and disregard for safety were choices that created the conditions that led to the accident. Don't be that guy (or gal). The below tips can help you to prioritize safety when you are driving.

Allow sufficient time

If you know that your commute to work takes 45 minutes on a good day, leave 10 minutes early to allow a buffer for traffic, detours, accidents and other delays that can make you late or drive unsafely.

Keep your mind and eyes on the road

We've all read about the perils of distracted driving, but many people are still guilty of many instances of diverted attention behind the wheel. Cellphone usage and other electronic devices get a lot of the blame, but distractions can also be that coffee you're sipping or even your children squabbling away in the back seat.

Scan the road ahead

Watch not just the car ahead, but four or five cars ahead. If you begin to see brake lights, decrease speed and prepare to brake or take defensive or evasive actions to potential road hazards.

Be safe in work zones

Those signs saying fines are doubled in work zones are there for a reason. Those workers out there toiling in all sorts of weather all want to return home to their families at the end of the day, so decrease your speed and drive courteously.

Drive according to the weather

South Louisiana weather can bring dramatic changes in a short span of time. If the speed limit is 70 mph but it appears to be hurricane conditions, slow down accordingly. Better yet, get off the road entirely until the weather conditions improve.

Eliminate stress

So, the guy in the pickup truck cut you off and then brake-checked you. Yes, he's a jerk. Big deal. There simply is no upside in retaliating in incidents of road rage. You could wind up ticketed or even arrested, or worse — get shot and killed by the other unhinged driver. Let them go on down the road unchallenged.

Sometimes, even the most diligent and careful of drivers wind up in accidents. Those who get injured should take the necessary steps to preserve their rights to take legal action against the at-fault driver(s) who are liable for the accident.

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